Manorial Rights - An open letter to the leadership of WHBC

January 8, 2014 12:00 AM
By Cllr Tony Skottowe

Shortly you will be considering what actions to take based on the legal advice on Manorial Rights received by the council a short while ago. You will, of course, be concerned to protect the interests of the council but I urge to not restrict yourselves just to that, but to try to also defend the interests of the residents affected.

The issue of manorial rights is a matter of great concern for a significant number of residents in my ward of Handside. It is therefore vital that the council is as open and inclusive as possible.

What most concerned residents about Manorial Rights during my discussions with them, is knowing whether the notification applies to their home or not. Because the Land Registry has only written to Freeholders and the majority of those affected are Leaseholders, few residents know for sure if their home is part of the claims. As the Freeholder the Council should have been notified of each property affected and so should be doing its best to inform the affected leaseholder residents whether their home is on the list.

Given statements from Gascoyne Cecil Estates that the rights should have no effect on homeowners it might be thought this is a storm in a teacup. Sadly it is not. Already at least one resident has experienced difficulties in selling his house due to a mortgage lender refusing to lend. A proactive approach by the council is needed so that residents are informed of any claim relating to their homes and so can pre-empt legal difficulties.

Finally I want to urge the council to include the residents in any solution to the problems raised by Manorial Rights. A considerable resource is available in the form of a large number of residents in Handside who I am sure will be keen to work with the council to find a solution. The council leadership potentially has a small army of helpers and be being open and inclusive will benefit not only the council but those residents whose homes are currently blighted by the issue. Arrange a meeting open to everyone affected please so that we can sort this out quickly.

Tony Skottowe

Councillor Handside Ward